HAMPTON INN HEARING POSTPONED AGAIN

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic rightThe Red Bank Planning Board put off testimony on a proposed six-story, 72-room hotel at the foot of Cooper Bridge for the third consecutive time Monday night.

But the not before the developer’s attorney raised a question about whether the plan’s foremost objector might have an ulterior motive for opposing the plan.

Marty McGann, the lawyer for Rbank Capital LLC, told the board he wanted to know if borough resident Stephen Mitchell, who has filed a lawsuit to stop the hearings, works for a competing hotel.

Citing case law, McGann said his client was entitled to ask, given that Mitchell lives beyond the 200-foot zone in which all property owners must be given notice of variance applications.

“I’m entitled to make an inquiry,” McGann told redbankgreen, adding that he had no specific evidence that Mitchell does work for the lodging industry.

Ron Gasiorowski, Mitchell’s lawyer, told the board he didn’t know the answer to the question but would address it at the next hearing. Mitchell, of Prospect Avenue, declined comment.

No testimony has been heard on the proposal since August. A planned September 7 hearing was adjourned when the board, which learned of Mitchell’s lawsuit that day, said it wanted to “digest” the filing. A session scheduled for two weeks later was canceled when McGann was stuck in New Orleans.

Questions about whether the announcement of that cancellation – given in the form of a one-sentence, small-font notice taped to the door of borough hall – was adequate led to Monday night’s postponement. Board Attorney Michael Leckstein argued that the door posting was sufficient, but the rest of the board, following the lead of Mayor Pasquale Menna, agreed that McGann should re-notice neighbors by certified mail to let them know the matter was continuing.

The next hearing was scheduled for November 7.